all about herbs
[music] fresh herbs transform mealtimes from theordinary to the sublime, but while many evergreen herbs such as rosemary may be picked throughout the winter in many areas others need to be cut and stored beforethe end of the growing season if we're to enjoy their flavors during the coldermonths.
all about herbs, in this video we'll look at some clever but simple ways to do just that. drying is the easiest way to preserveherbs. gather stems into small loose bunches, secure the ends together with an elastic band or twine then hang upside down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place that's out of direct sunlight.
herbs with smaller leaves such as thyme can be laid out on newspaper or on a rack to dry. for best results herbs should be fully dried within2-3 days. a speedier alternative to air drying is to use a microwave. this method is also useful in damp climates where air drying can prove difficultunless you have a dehydrator. spread individual leaves out onto paper towel,then cover with another layer of paper towel place in the microwave for 1-3minutes, checking the leaves every 20 seconds and rearranging as necessary toensure even drying. allow to cool before storing.
herbs are dry when they arecrunchy to the touch. store dried leaves whole to retain theirflavor. place them into airtight jars labeled with the name of the herb and the date. store them in a cool dry place, where they should keep for up to a year. fleshy herbs such as basil, parsley, dill and cilantro (coriander) lend themselves to freezing. blanch them in boiling water for a couple of seconds before plunging into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the leaves from cooking further. pat dry between dish towels, then pack the vibrant green leaves into labeled freezer bags. ice cube trays offer a convenient way to add recipe-ready portions of frozen herbs at cooking time.
to freeze, add chopped herbs to the trays so that each cube is about half full. top up with water then freeze as normal. this is also a great way topreserve edible flowers such as borage for adding to drinks. once the cubes are frozen they can be poppedout into freezer bags to save on space. you can also blend herbs with oil then pour the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze in the same way. this method alsoworks really well for basic pestos. just make up your pesto, pour into the ice cubetrays, freeze, then pop out
and pack into freezer bags ready to zhoosh up yourfavorite recipes. a variation on oil herb mixtures is to makea herb butter. leave a pat of butter at room temperature to soften up. chop up yourfavorite leafy herbs - i love using tarragon - then mash into the butter using the back of a fork. pack the butter up into greaseproof paper and twist theends closed. herbs in oils and butters can exclude oxygen, which can increasethe risk of botulism disease. to avoid this, be sure to refrigerate them and usewithin 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
an alternative is to lower the ph to below 4.6 by soaking finely shredded herbs in vinegar then mixing in the oil to make salad dressings which will last longer. these ideas offer just a flavor ofwhat you can do to lock in that summer freshness to enjoy year round.
of course, there are lots of other methods - preserving in sugar, even herbal wines. if you've got a favorite method of storing herbs, please do share it by dropping usa comment below and if you'd like more practical gardening videos, don't forget to subscribe.